Tilt Wheel – Twice the Dose

Tilt Wheel
Twice the Dose

On the surface, this album seems like just another trendy release. First of all, it’s a split; these things are becoming ever more popular as a way to get a band’s name out there without them needing to have enough material to make a full-length. And secondly, both these bands seem to be emo in nature. Emo bands are springing up like mad as of late due to the trendy upswing in the music’s popularity. So I think, “Oh great, just another one of these … just another thing for 15-year old girls to tap their chests to.” Thankfully I was wrong in both of those assumptions.
Watch it Burn and Tiltwheel have been plying their trade for a while having been around for six and seven years respectively. The time factor is an instant added plus to their cred. They didn’t just spring up in the last year or so. They aren’t an ex-third wave ska band that dropped the horns for moog synths. As far as the music goes, both bands play a brand of early-90’s emotional punk akin to Jawbreaker and Samiam. Most of the lyrics are centered around alcohol and love ala The Lawrence Arms. Sad, drunken punk always makes for good song writing material. I’ve heard it all a thousand times before, yet it never gets old. Look no farther than traditional country music to see the lasting power of tear-in-your-beer stories.
Watch it Burn opens up the album with three fairly standard tracks. The songs are all mid-tempo and in part reflect that Gainesville sound that Hot Water Music made famous. But the most apparent influence on these guys is Jawbreaker. “I’m Sleeping at the Beach Tonight”, the best track of this side, even has a line that states, “This all reminds me of a Jawbreaker song that I haven’t heard in so long.” Well, at least they aren’t afraid to admit it. This three-song offering is good but nothing that is going to stick with you.
The stronger half of the album belongs to Tiltwheel. As mentioned above, they’ve got strong songwriting prowess that’s sure to pull on some heartstrings. Their music leans more towards punk-rock than emo as everything is more up-tempo. These guys are an easy comparison to The Lawrence Arms because of their ability to switch vocals and song-styles in between more upbeat, raspy-throated punk rock to mid-tempo and more delicate emo-punk. The track you’ll want to listen to on this part of the split is “It’s Amazing the Things You Find in Your Pocket After a Bender,” but the other two tracks are also worth giving time to.
While not being very original or hard to pin down, both Watch it Burn and Tiltwheel are good at what they do. Each band plays a style that’s not replicated as much as the Saves the Day style. It’s great to hear a band referencing Jawbreaker instead of some more recent, trendy emo band. This album scores bonus points for having a picture on the inside of Chris Farley’s highly-caffienated character Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker. All things considered, this split CD is good enough to warrant more than one listen even if you don’t get all worked up about it.